"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tour of the Unknown Coast, part 2 (the middle part)

At the brief stop in Honeydew, one of the other riders mentioned that lunch was only nine miles up the road, at A.W. Way County Memorial Park, and there was one more hill between us and it. I'm not sure which one was the one she meant. In studyin' up on the ride, I was so preoccupied with the big hills that I forgot to notice how not flat most of the rest of the ride was. The stretch through Avenue of the Giants to the foot of Panther Gap was mostly flat. The stretch right along the beach leading up to the infamous Wall was flat in a cruel joke sort of way...so windy I had to shift into my biggest gear to keep crawling along at 7 miles an hour. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Lunch featured more tasty sandwiches and even more choices than at the rest stop, plus homemade vegetable soup, and the usual cookies and chips and Gu and powdered sports drink mix. The mechanic fixed my front derailleur. I probably stayed at the lunch stop longer than I would have if not left to my own 'fuffeling,' as it has been called (though I haven't decided how to spell it).

Refueled, I got on the road again uphill and down, roughly following the Mattole River. Seemed paradoxical that the river could flow downhill all the way to the sea but we had to keep riding up.

Reached the town of Petrolia and felt reassured by this sign that I'd been somewhere and I was going somewhere. Only 30 miles to go.

Apparently in Petrolia they have their own language, called Hamburgese, as demonstrated by the sign below.

I'm not sure if the position of the sconce on the wall is meant to serve as an apostrophe, which of course would dramatically change the meaning. Hamburgese has a limited syntax, but with many possible meanings dependent on context. If I hadn't stayed so long at the lunch stop, perhaps I could have studied this further. Aunt Merilyn, who is very knowledgeable about local history and lore, told me later that the Petrolia Store (which either serves plural hamburgers, or is owned by a burger) is also the unofficial seismograph for earthquake activity to which this area is prone. When there's an earthquake, word goes out, "How much damage at the Petrolia store?" whereby the locals can estimate the magnitude of the quake well ahead of the USGS.

More unnamed roller coaster hills. Roller coaster in relation to the big ones, but some about the size of Steiger / Cantelow / Monticello Dam in Winters where we've done a lot of riding. I began to worry that I wasn't going to feel very rested up and ready by the time I got to the Wall. I thought about the Wall all the time. As one might infer from previous blog posts, I thought about it all the time before the ride too. I still wasn't ready for it.

At around 75 miles, we crested whatever poor nameless hill and got our first view of the ocean. I shall name it Hill Where You First See the Ocean. I'm sure there's a language that could say that very succinctly. In Hamburgese, for example, it's probably just a picture of two hamburgers, one being the hill and the other, the ocean.

As I hinted earlier, my dream of a flat restful ride 6 miles along the beach was blown away. A small group of riders were far enough ahead that I couldn't catch up to benefit from their windbreak. Definitely an advantage to riding with some friends even if you're not trying to go all that fast. Taking turns drafting and pulling means less work for everybody.

Then at 79 - 80 miles it appeared.

I just now realized what lovely wildflowers are lining the road.

1 comment:

George said...

Great work! Maybe I can get in 40 flat miles the rest of this week. I think we drove 2,000 miles over the weekend but that was hybrid and gas motor powererd. We had high winds, some rain, and snow. Audio books were good, especially Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book."